Climbing with the Behemoth (review)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Scott in Tucson
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    Climbing with the Behemoth (review)

    I've had my Behemoth for about 3 weeks and have so far ridden it in Tucson (home base), Phoenix (mmm.. South Mountain), El Paso and Austin (City Park). It's got some good hours on it.

    On my first spin I was immediately impressed with how well the bike pedals. Under cover of darkness I forgot I was riding such a "big" bike as a cruised home on city streets. In Austin I followed the 3M half marathon to downtown, then turned around to pedal up to Emma Long City Park, where I did two deliciously technical laps before pedaling another ~8 miles of pavement back to the hotel. I picked up around 50 miles. No complaints. A lighter bike might have been faster, but it didn't bother me. In fact, I passed two groups of roadies on "King of Texas Highway" (or whatever 360 is called) -- on hills!

    This bike loves to climb technical trail. It begs me to try harder/steeper/bigger technical climbs. There's just something about the way it rolls up stuff that is almost intoxicating. I love technical climbing and this bike makes it even more fun. I haven't made many breakthroughs in terms of cleaning climbs I've been working at for years, but the bike certainly climbs as good as or better than any other bike I've pedaled. On some sections I've had to throw up the 'no challenge' flag, because it was just that -- not challenging.

    I've had some really awesome experiences with the bike on downhill, but also some frustrating ones. It's pretty sickening how fast I can ride certain types of trails. I've never experienced such an ability to control a bike at speed. The thru-bolt fork and beefy wheels are extremely confidence inspiring when pulling hard corners and fighting through rock gardens. Also, I've noticed that the consistency of brake power afforded by discs makes very steep sections much easier to negotiate. The seemingly endless suspension on both ends is too much fun for 'hucking' off obstacles on trail. I can pull up on the handlebars in places I'd never dream of on my B-29. The landing doesn't have to perfect and you don't even need much room.

    But I've also had some trouble in very technical situations. I'm a hard tail rider and I usually run my forks stiff (tons of air and little/no sag). I like the precision and ability to be *exactly* where I want to. I'm still getting used to both ends compressing when trying to set up for certain lines and when making very precise turns/line adjustments at very slow speeds. If I'm moving above 2 mph I don't have any problems, but when things get really slow/tight it seems hard to control. I am making improvement, but there have been sections that I expected to ride but have ended up dabbing on (or not trying). I think it's just going to take a little more time.

    I'm a GPS freak, and I record almost every (interesting) ride I do. I have the most tracks locally, of course, so I did a comparison with myself in Behemoth mode vs. all my other bikes (B-29, and various other 26ers including FS) over the last ~3 years. The ride was a loop that, as far as I know, I'm the only one in town who rides. I call it Hot Water Hill or Agua Caliente to Milagrosa. The Hot Water Hill climb is an extended, granny gear climb that tests not only skill but aerobic capacity. On days when I am tired I dab all over the place. When I'm not tired I still dab.

    And I dabbed with the Behemoth, but it was definitely a good (above average) run. Over the course of the ride I cleaned 3 sections I've never ridden before, including 2 I've never even tried. One was on the lower section of Milagrosa. Confidence was so high I just went for it.

    Anyway, the interesting part of the GPS comparison is that the ride on the Behemoth was the fastest (in terms of moving time) for the loop -- by 2 minutes. Second place was a day last spring, on the B-29, when I was in great shape and spot on.

    Why was it faster? Looking at the playback it is clear that I was riding significantly faster downhill (on some sections) compared to all the other tracks. But was it fast enough to counter slowdown on the super steep, OMG my heart is jumping out of my head climb, PLUS gain 2 minutes? The answer is that I wasn't climbing slower. I was in the top third for time reaching the top, including re-trying a few sections on the way up.

    Was I trying harder or "racing?" Nope. I didn't think to compare the rides until after I got home. Besides, you can't really race this loop. You just do what you have to in order to survive -- which is a lot.

    Anyway, I thought the result was interesting, if nothing else.

    The bike at the turn around (peak) of the John Krein trail:

    <img src=https://www.topofusion.com/images/boone/sm_behe.jpg>

    As shown it weighs around 31-32 lbs (bathroom scale). Size large.

    Climbing lower Agua Caliente:

    <img src=https://www.topofusion.com/images/boone/agua-switch.jpg>

    <img src=https://www.topofusion.com/images/boone/agua-climb.jpg>

  2. #2
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    I agree!

  3. #3
    Work Shed...
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    Awesome! I love the look of that 9er... I just got my first 29er and have been doing ups as well as downs much faster than I ever did on my 26 hartail.. I improved my time on a local loop by 7 minutes because the back tire would hook up so well on every steep iffy climb (which are short here, but there are 5-6 on this loop).. btw, the weather looks really nice out there

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    I"ll third that statement. The Moth is an exceptional machine.
    A bike by any other name is still a bike.

  5. #5
    Powered by ice cream.
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    Thanks for the post. You are making me salivate for my "big" bike. I love technical climbs, and I think it is going to rock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    If I'm moving above 2 mph I don't have any problems, but when things get really slow/tight it seems hard to control. I am making improvement, but there have been sections that I expected to ride but have ended up dabbing on (or not trying). I think it's just going to take a little more time.
    I am the reverse, a mostly FS guy who has been riding SS hardtails recently. I am finding that in the really slow (almost not moving) stuff, the locked out fork and rigid rear will pull me out of situations where I would have stalled on the FS bike. This surprised me a little. You can just get away with trialsy type moves that are much harder on the FS. I think the key with the FS is to keep the speed up, and just run over stuff while seated if possible. If you hit something without the momentum to get over it, you just wallow, stall, and dab. My problem is finding the power when I need it.

    Good post.
    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    And I thought I had a bike obsession. You are at once tragic and awesome.

  6. #6
    NMBP
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    I have almost 2 months on my Behemoth and I can't say enough good things about it. Two days ago I rode Little Creek (Gooseberry's more seductive sister) for my 4th time since I built the bike. This bike was bred for technical slickrock. When I finish a long ride. my body feels much less beat up. The Moth is at least 4# heavier than my previous ride, but handles and rides much lighter. Love it.I was worried about the higher gearing because of the larger wheels, but it hasn't been an issue yet. I do have a 64mm 20 tooth granny waiting to go on, however I have to modify the crank first. I may find that I don't need it. 180mm cranks have also helped a lot.

  7. #7
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    ...I've also had some trouble in very technical situations. I'm a hard tail rider and I usually run my forks stiff (tons of air and little/no sag). I like the precision and ability to be *exactly* where I want to. I'm still getting used to both ends compressing when trying to set up for certain lines and when making very precise turns/line adjustments at very slow speeds. If I'm moving above 2 mph I don't have any problems, but when things get really slow/tight it seems hard to control. I am making improvement, but there have been sections that I expected to ride but have ended up dabbing on (or not trying). I think it's just going to take a little more time.

    The bike at the turn around (peak) of the John Krein trail:

    <img src=https://www.topofusion.com/images/boone/sm_behe.jpg>
    Great writeup. I think the problem you're having is with that blingy seatpost upsetting the balance of an otherwise mostly-workingman's machine. Head down to your LBS and pick up a cheap Taichung boat anchor replacement and I'll bet things'll smooth out considerably...

    Or, just keep riding it and by March I'm willing to bet you won't remember what the problem was. It does take some getting used to, especially if you're a recovering racer geek (you described yourself that way, not me!) that's used to carrying the weight of suspension but never using it. But that's just it--you'll get used to it.

    The real question is, Are you enjoying the process?

    MC
    Last edited by mikesee; 02-13-2006 at 08:16 AM.

  8. #8
    Park City, Utah
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    The 'Moth rules! 5 feet of snow on the ground and that post makes me want singletrack!!

  9. #9
    Scott in Tucson
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Great writeup. I think the problem you're having is with that blingy seatpost upsetting the balance of an otherwise mostly-workingman's machine.
    Uh, yeah, probably. I'm finding that I like a layback post better on the bike. Still got that thomson?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    The real question is, Are you enjoying the process?
    Absolutely. I can't stop riding this bike and I'm still learning what I can do with it.

    I forgot to add one more comment: I am beginning to understand shuttling. (!!) Not because the bike is hard to climb (I've already professed its climbing ability), but because the downhill is over too fast. I keep hitting the bottom of a descent and thinking "over already?"

    All the more time to spend climbing....

  10. #10
    This place needs an enema
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krein
    All the more time to spend climbing....
    'zackly.

    MC

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